German roots dub OcTubaFest

William Schmidt

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Tuba players join together for the final event of a five concert show taking place in Pottle Auditorium. 
The Lion's Roar/William Schmidt

Five concerts featuring the tuba and euphonium took over the Pottle Recital Hall for the “OcTubaFest.” 

OcTubaFest hosted a series of free concerts that took place from October 27 to 29, as a part of Fanfare.   

OcTubaFest was created in 1974 by Harvey Phillips who, in the eyes of lecturer of tuba and euphonium Dr. Brian Gallion, is, in a way, the Godfather of the Tuba. The name of OcTubaFest was chosen because the tuba’s roots originate from Germany and Germany celebrates Oktoberfest making OcTubaFest a natural term to be developed.

“He [Phillips] wanted to find some opportunities for tubas to play and not just sit in the back of the orchestra,” said Gallion. “He created a foundation and [Phillips] created some concerts for us to play.”

Gallion hopes that after the concert series, more people will realize and appreciate all that one can do when playing the tuba. 

“Hopefully we showed that the tubas are more capable than just playing oompah in the back of the band,” said Gallion. “They’re capable of playing beautifully quiet, incredibly loud and everywhere in between. We can play a lot higher than people think we can and we can play much lower than people think we can.”

Practice for the concert series started in August for some, and the musicians were pleased with the ending of the final concert that took place on October 29 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. 

“We put in a lot of work,” said senior music performance major Stephan August. “We make it look easy, but it is nowhere near easy. It’s a lot of emotions going on flying here and there, lots of mental bashing. The final product is wonderful compared to what we started with.”

Some performers were pleased to play pieces composed by an appreciated composer. 

“The ensemble went very well and so did the quartets,” said junior music major with a focus in trombone performance James Scheidell II. “The March [‘March from Second Suite’] was my favorite, or ‘Jupiter.’ They are both by Holst. He is a very good composer and I love his music.” 

If you were unable to experience the variety of the sound offered by the tuba, stop by “Starry November Night” as another tuba festival will be taking place, “Merry TubaChristmas.” 

“Merry TubaChristmas is Friday, November 13 as part of Starry November Night, Hammond’s celebration and kind of welcoming of the holiday season,” said Gallion. “We will be playing with hopefully 25 to 30 tuba players, from the community, outside of La Carreta on their main stage. It is a really great concert we put on every year. We started it three years ago so this is our fourth year doing it and I am really excited to present it.”

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